February 09, 2017
Senate Democrats on Wednesday abandoned the idea of holding another all-night “talk-a-thon” to protest a key Cabinet nominee of President Trump’s, after holding two back-to-back all nighters to protest two other nominees.
Democrat leaders didn’t offer a public explanation for the move, but it came after their all-night debate sessions Monday and Tuesday failed to move the needle on Trump’s picks.
On Monday, Senate Democrats stayed up all night to protest the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Trump’s education secretary. Senators spoke all day Monday and into the evening, and worked to generate support from followers.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cited rallies outside the capitol in which people opposed DeVos’ nomination.
DeVos was confirmed 51-50, after Vice President Pence broke a 50-50 deadlock.
Undeterred, Democrats held the Senate open all night again on Tuesday to speak against another key nominee.
“Senate Democrats are once again going to hold the floor all night — this time to speak out against Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination for attorney general,” Democrats said on their Facebook page.
That all-nighter led to fireworks, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was deemed to be violating a Senate rule prohibiting senators from impugning the motives or character of other sitting senators.
That floor fight led to more angry Democrat tweets, but still did nothing to change the outcome of the Sessions vote. He was confirmed 52-47 on Wednesday, but Schumer thanked Senate staff nonetheless for helping them to protest the vote.
But at the end of the Sessions vote, Senate Democrats appeared to give up the strategy of holding all-nighters, without any explanation. That decision was made even though another nominee they oppose, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, is expected by early Friday.
Democrats didn’t tweet out their plans this time around, and instead left it to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, to note on the Senate floor that the Senate would adjourn Wednesday night for the first time all week, a sign that no one would be staying up late to speak.
“If there’s no further business to come before the Senate, Mr. President, I ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of the senator from Oregon, Sen. [Ron] Wyden,” Cornyn said.
Wyden spoke for several minutes against Price. But after his remarks, the Senate immediately adjourned with no further explanation from Wyden or other Democrats.